It used to be that debts were enforced with the threat of imprisonment. If you took out a loan and you couldn’t afford to pay it back, then you would be arrested and thrown in jail. But now—in the United States, at least—debtors’ prisons are supposed to be a thing of the past, a relic from a more barbaric era.
“For the most part, the US outlawed debtors’ prisons before the Civil War,” said guest host Ezra Klein on Tuesday’s episode of The Rachel Maddow Show. Continue reading